Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) What's up, Virgo? We've had this talk before. Why do you persistently waste your time, and that of others, with these dead-end pursuits? Like the interview you arranged regarding that apartment. The ad stated clearly: "No dogs. No exceptions." How were you planning to hide your 120-pound rottweiler who barks a lot? I know the apartment's in a great location! But think it through, please. "Problem": You have an abundance of nervous energy you need to burn off somehow. Solution: Don't leap at every opportunity to use it up. Exercise that worrying, calculating brain of yours. Habitually. Practice thinking through every interaction. It'll seem clunky and less spontaneous at first, but I promise: you'll save so much time by not perpetuating, worrying about and apologizing for these embarrassing situations that you'll have greater opportunity for impulsively creative and constructive behavior than ever before.
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) Ouch. Don't burn yourself. This week, you might feel a little bit like you're trapped in a blast furnace, or at least the roiling belly of a steam-breathing dragon. Not very comfortable, I agree. But you don't have to just sit there in misery, waiting for incineration or digestion. Everything that happens to you can be turned to your own advantage, if you're ingenious and willing. For example, in this case I'm positive you could think of a way to harness all this steamy heat. Then it's just a matter of figuring out how to get the beast to puke you (and your newly wrinkle free wardrobe) up, and spit you out.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) Don't give up so quickly. Sometimes good things just fall in your lap, but the truly special ones often take a little work. If they were too easy, you wouldn't appreciate them. Live for the exceptions, baby. (It's the only way to lead an exceptional life?don't you want that?) They're worth it. Take the risks, make the extra effort. Try again. Yes, I mean you. It's supposed to be hard, so you'll value your goal (new love? promotion? gold medal?) once you get it. If you're feeling discouraged, remember: you've got absolutely nothing to lose except your average, familiar existence.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) You might find yourself farting fireballs on the subway this week. How embarrassing! Don't burn anyone with your ass-stink. That'd be tragic for all involved. Something you ate? Probably that gross combination of situations you managed to cook up and then swallow down. In any case, take responsibility for the foolhardy madness of your actions. No one should pay for your insanity but yourself. So aim your flaming wind in a safe direction?and if there is none, point it at yourself.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) While administering my own odd baptism in the Ganges, I tried to put statistics out of my mind. It might be inaccurate, but I'd read somewhere that India's most holy river harbors 150,000 times the supposedly "safe" amount of fecal coliform bacteria. I attempted to reassure myself with the sights of countless Indians bathing and washing in, even drinking, the brown water. To be sure, there is something special and beautiful about this sacred place, which is why I craved this particular rite; most travelers to Varanasi avoid any contact with Ganga, where corpses are cremated every hour of the day. In the end, it didn't matter that I never got in farther than mid-thigh?the ritual worked for me. Your own struggle is similar: it's not the outcome of the work that's important or consequential, it's the process itself.
Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 18) Slather on the sunscreen. You rarely seek out the spotlight. Nor do you avoid it. Occasionally you bask in its radiance. Usually, though, it centers on those who actively seek out the glory, or demand it. Most of the time, you simply can't be bothered with this essentially petty game. Worry not, you won't have to cope with the direct glare of the full-force high-beam of dazzling attention. But this week it might settle on someone so close to you that you'd better protect yourself with a pair of sunglasses and some 15 SPF sunblock. Don't freak?it won't last long; probably just long enough to give yourself a lovely, sexy, all-over tan.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 19) I esteem people and things that cross boundaries, surpass genres and defy categorization. I admire those who are familiar with many different viewpoints of reality, who've experienced more than just a few of life's multiplicities. Works of art (like the awesome Hyperion books by Dan Simmons) that reflect these ever-changing, flowing and complex perspectives are my inspiration. Your own empathic abilities to perceive, and hopefully understand, the viewpoints of certain important people in your life are growing rapidly. This week, you might feel you comprehend them better than you do yourself. Go with it. The more you express your empathy for others, the more likely they are to be accurate mirrors of your own complex personality.
Aries (March 21-April 19) You probably feel like a drowning swimmer, stumbling up the shore and collapsing, deeply exhausted, face first on the dry, warm sand. Some time ago you were shipwrecked on a tiny island, with no rescue in sight. I'm not sure what prompted you to leave your tiny, prison-like refuge?perhaps you ran out of coconuts, or were swept out to sea by a storm while you slept or simply marshaled enough courage to try to change your fate. Now you've managed the interminable, salty journey back to the mainland. This week, honor the hero who "saved your life"?yourself.
Taurus (April 20-May 20) Can you imagine working in a chicken factory, burning the beaks off baby chicks, day in, day out? Or being a military leader, knowing that someone, somewhere, will suffer because of the commands you issue? How to cope? Ignore the consequences? Convince yourself they (the enemy soldiers and their families, or the fluffy yellow chicks) deserve it? Hate yourself, but feel you have no other options? You're probably not one of these people, but put yourself in their shoes for just a moment. Then your own choices may seem a little more clear-cut. They may be choices that involve some degree of self-sacrifice (like: "Hurt these people or infant fowl, or lose your job"), but they exist. Once you admit this to yourself, you'll never feel completely powerless again.
Gemini (May 21-June 20) Last month, my friends bought a brand-new refrigerator and stove, but neither of them worked until repairmen had visited at least once for each appliance. Mercury retrograde strikes again! You're probably glad it's been over for some time. You should've recovered from all the shenanigans of your ruling planet by now. Spend this week mopping up the last few remaining messes. Make sure the road is clear of any obstacles, toxic spills or unconscious children. Set yourself up for a long clear run. If you do it right, you'll not only clear those frustrating roadblocks you're opponents have set up to thwart you, you're likely to take flight, and soar straight on till morning.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) In order for human consciousness to evolve, we must reject authority. I'm not talking anarchy here. I'm referring to a basic shift from hierarchy to cooperation. Don't stop listening to those who're supposedly wiser, or simply more powerful. But make your own choices. Do not blindly submit to the whims of a CEO, parent or god. Practice this. The next time (and every time, subsequently) that you're issued an order, ultimatum or veiled threat, hear it as the choice you're really being given. You may still choose to submit. But you may not. Suddenly, the power is in your hands.